Make Your Online Event a Virtual Networking Platform
Many conference planners believe it is difficult to provide networking opportunities to attendees during virtual events. However, the truth is that there are many features on virtual networking platforms to make it easy for online event participants to connect.
In fact, OpenWater has helped over 150 organizations put on virtual events and virtual conferences with rich networking opportunities for attendees and vendors.
Read our customer stories to learn more about how we helped organizations like CESSE, NCORE, and AAG transfer their events into online conferences with virtual networking platforms.
In this article, you’ll learn why networking features are important in virtual conference platforms. Next, we’ll discuss 3 must-have networking platform features. Lastly, we’ll list 5 common networking touch points to engage your participants in a virtual event.
Let’s dive in!
Why is Networking Important?
For many online event participants, networking is a key factor in deciding whether to attend an event.
Furthermore, according to a study by The Experience Institute, 76% of people cited Networking as a main driver to attend an event.
So, it’s fair to say that the majority of people that attend your online event look forward to the networking opportunities.
Also, It’s important to deliver various networking opportunities for both your attendees and sponsors in a virtual networking platform.
Here’s the logic as to why providing networking opportunities leads to an increase in non-dues revenue:
The more networking options you make available, the more your attendees will engage in your online event. When your attendees become more engaged, your sponsors will likely see more leads coming in.
This makes for happy attendees and happy sponsors, which is great because you’ll have attendees returning for your next event and sponsors throwing money at you to get in on the action.
Note that it is important to find a platform provider like OpenWater that understands the importance of networking.
To learn more about OpenWater’s platform and networking, schedule a demo here.
Virtual Networking Platform Features to Look Out For
Now, let’s cover some basic networking features to look out for in a virtual networking platform.
Make sure your platform provider offers at least a variation of these features within their platform. They are foundational features that, when baked into the online structure, create strong relationships between attendees as well as sponsors.
Breakout rooms provide an opportunity for attendees to engage in small groups. These rooms enable attendees to collaborate, network, or brainstorm. It’s important for your attendees to contribute to your online event, and breakout rooms are where it happens.
Feel free to read our article about virtual conference platforms with breakout rooms. In the article, you’ll find more information on the importance of incorporating breakout rooms and sessions in your event.
It’s also important for your platform provider to incorporate chat rooms within sessions, exhibits, and sponsor pages. Live chats are useful for niche networking between attendees and they’re important for sponsors to gather leads and engage with other participants.
For more detailed communication, comment boards are especially useful to attendees. Providing comment boards is a great way for attendees to provide insight or feedback on exhibits and presentations.
To see what these features might look like in a virtual conference platform, download our virtual conference platform look book.
5 Common Networking Touch Points During an Event
Below is a list of five examples where having networking options are useful to attendees and sponsors.
To learn more about touch points between sponsors and attendees, be sure to check out our free guide, The Virtual Conference Structure to Maximize Sponsor Revenue and Networking.
- Morning Breakout Sessions
- Discussing Content in Exhibitor Chat Room
- Afternoon Networking Session
- Chat with Sponsor about their Product in Booth Session
- End-of-Day Networking Lounge (Happy Hour)
To learn more about how OpenWater can help with virtual conference networking, please schedule a demo. We’re happy to help!